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  1. #1
    Suave y Fuerte BadOctopus's Avatar
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    Question "Angry" music: why do some people find it relaxing?

    I have a friend who has told me on several occasions that he finds slow music irritating instead of relaxing, and that fast, loud, aggressive music calms him. I find this very interesting, and also somewhat strange. I've always found angry, frenetic music to be grating on my nerves. It makes me agitated and irritable. I've asked him to expound on his views, but he always says, "I can't explain it. It's just how I feel."



    No. You cannot just tell me a thing, and not give me any reason for it. That is bananas.

    So does anyone else relate to what he's saying? If so, could you please explain it to me? I really want to understand this.
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    Entertaining Cracker five sounds's Avatar
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    If I'm angry then angry music calms me. I'd I'm feeling high strung, angry music calms me.

    But I like calm music for when I'm feeling mellow or emotional. Or when I feel overwhelmed and need the equivalent of a musical hug.
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    I don't know, but he's not the only one. I've heard others say this as well, or happened to read stuff (like blog entries) where it seems like the person is that way.

    It's kind of like some drugs and alcohol as well, it affects mood differently in different people. Or some kinds of ADs will make some people highstrung where for others it'll mellow them out.

    How would he be able to explain it, unless he was a brain chemist? He doesn't understand "why" it is that way; he only understands the actual experience of it.

    My own music taste varies. I tend to be a "relaxed music person" but sometimes get in a state where more driving music seems to make me more coherent and focused and capable... which is kind of calming, I suppose (i.e., "in balance while moving, stabilized in momentum versus randomly drifting," etc.). Maybe that's what he means?
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  4. #4

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    I am the same as your friend, aggressive music often calms me. Well I think it's because the aggression and temper in fast music helps me to vent my own high temper. I like slow music, but not calm, I like when the slow songs are emotionally very expressive. Either way, I need a strong emotional element in music in order to like it.
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  5. #5
    Senior Member robowolf's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Inis Mona View Post
    Well I think it's because the aggression and temper in fast music helps me to vent my own high temper.
    For me it's the same.

    When I'm angry I want to destroy things and scream, but I can't, so I let others do it for me.
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    Suave y Fuerte BadOctopus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by robowolf View Post
    When I'm angry I want to destroy things and scream, but I can't, so I let others do it for me.
    I can understand that. And I understand how it can have a driving, stimulating effect. But calming? Every bit of research I've read, combined with my own experience, seems to indicate that the louder and faster the music is, the more of a taxing effect it has on the brain. It produces an adrenaline rush, and puts the nervous system in a state of excitement. That's why people get whipped into a frenzy at rock concerts, whereas that's much less likely to happen at a performance of chamber music.

    I personally can't listen to heavy metal, even though I can recognize the talent of the musicians. I'm super sensitive to external stimuli, and that type of music overloads my neurons.

    The only thing I can think of is that there are exceptions to every rule, and there are some people whose brains are just wired differently.

  7. #7
    nee andante bechimo's Avatar
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    Not that it's calming for me but if stress hormones are bled off, perhaps that's the calming effect.

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    Suave y Fuerte BadOctopus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by andante View Post
    Not that it's calming for me but if stress hormones are bled off, perhaps that's the calming effect.
    AHA! That actually makes sense. If that type of music releases pent-up stress hormones, I can see how some people might find the effects "calming". Now we're getting somewhere.

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    It's probably mostly about familiarity. To me, jazz is stressful and irritating because it's cacophonous and chaotic; classical music is too variable (quiet in spots, thunderous in spots) and difficult to decipher, opera is like fingernails on chalkboards, etc. But I like it when Black Sabbath or other classic hard rock comes on the radio because it's what I grew up on. It relaxes me because it's familiar, catchy, predictable, etc.

    All music is pretty much the same thing: A beat, some instruments, a singer growling or warbling some words. You turn it up, you turn it down according to your preferences. It mostly gets down to what you grew up on--what's familiar.

  10. #10
    nee andante bechimo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by YUI View Post
    It's probably mostly about familiarity. To me, jazz is stressful and irritating because it's cacophonous and chaotic; classical music is too variable (quiet in spots, thunderous in spots) and difficult to decipher, opera is like fingernails on chalkboards, etc. But I like it when Black Sabbath or other classic hard rock comes on the radio because it's what I grew up on. It relaxes me because it's familiar, catchy, predictable, etc.

    All music is pretty much the same thing: A beat, some instruments, a singer growling or warbling some words. You turn it up, you turn it down according to your preferences. It mostly gets down to what you grew up on--what's familiar.
    Classic rock wouldn't be classified as angry music. Think death and black metal.

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